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Trusting God in the Deep Waters

I admit, I’m a terrible swimmer. I still hold my nose and if shoved under, I will surface choking and coughing. I might be able to save my life and I’d hope one of my kids if necessary, but anyone my size or bigger…you’re just not gonna make it. 

The shallow end was my preferred territory as a kid. While my siblings jumped off docks and into deep water, I was content to sit near the shore and play in the sand. Okay, that’s a lie. I wasn’t content. I pretended to be content. In the marrow of my bones, I longed to run and jump off the dock and into deep waters. I dreamed of diving off the diving board with friends at camp. Instead, I lied (yes at church camp, clearly I needed it) and said I wasn’t following the herd. I talked people out of diving off the diving board with some of my words. I held others back from the deep waters…because I was too afraid to take the plunge.

In my relationship with Jesus, I’ve played too many years in the shallow end and watched too many friends enjoy the deep waters. 

The deep waters are a place where you can’t see beneath you. Can’t touch. Can’t see land. Without markers, how will you find your way back to shore? Deep waters contain vicious beast that want to devour you like sharks, jelly fish–okay not devour but definitely sting–among many other freaky creatures.

But Jesus call us to deep places.

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.'” Luke 5:4 NLT

It’s in the deep places, if we’re obedient, we find our truest calling and passion. It’s where our lives become a testimony. Where we can walk over waves. Where we drown in grace and are buoyed by faith.

Simon Peter didn’t want to go out into the deep. But because he did, they hauled a major load of fish. So much the boat nearly sank. NEARLY.

“Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’

‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said.

So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” Matthew 14:28-29 NLT

It was in the deep waters where Peter walked with Jesus.

Fear is a hindrance from launching into the deep.

Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of uncertainty. Fear of (fill in the blank). 

In my new release, Deep Waters, my heroine is terrified to trust God due to past hurt and failure. She’s watched too many people suffer and refuses to suffer too. Maybe you can relate to Caley.

It’s easy to say we trust God in the shallow waters where our feet touch and we’re delusional enough to believe we have full control of our lives, our situations, and our circumstances. 

“The truth is we’ll never know until we launch out and allow our faith to be tested. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” James 1:3 MSG

Question: Is there an area in your life that God is calling you into deep waters? Would you be bold enough to share it? I’ll be praying for you.

I’m giving away a copy of Deep Waters. Paperback for U.S. citizens and e-book for those of you abroad! 

 

 

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Deep Waters Summer Prize Package! Enter to Win.

Hey everyone! I’m super excited to celebrate a milestone in my writing career. Deep Waters marks my 5th Love Inspired Suspense AND the 1st book in a new 3-book series that covers an elite team of private security specialists. Their mission is to protect and they’lll go down in a blaze to follow through with their promises! 

I love these characters so much and the series kicks off in a fictional Florida small town called Turtle Bay. Deep Waters was a super fun and emotional story to write. My heroine is a marine-life vet who speicalizes in sea turtles (so that’s a big theme!) and my hero works for her older brother at Covenant Crisis Management (the private security company).

It will release on Kindle July 1 and in paperback on July 4! So to celebrate I’m hosting a month-long Summer Prize Package that includes lots of goodies:

A signed paperback of Deep Waters, an adorable sea turtle knicknack, a summer tote, beach towel, a drink cup and an adult ocean themed coloring book with colored pencils. You’re all ready for the beach or summer sunning and then some! 

Enter the rafflecopter below to win. U.S citizens only 18+ 

 

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Dear Daughter, Tomorrow You Graduate

Tomorrow marks the day you graduate into adulthood. But lying in the hospital with you in my arms seems like only yesterday. You cried so loud, a ripple of fear went through my veins. Would I be able to calm you? Make you feel safe, loved, cared for?

I was only a young girl myself really. Twenty-three isn’t much older than you are today. But I was just a girl. With a baby. With dreams for you. 

To be happy. To be kind. Generous. Sweet. 

You’re all those things.

Be brave. Be strong. Be a leader.

You are all those things.

Watching you grow, I never felt you’d actually become an adult. But your long cotton top hair than hung to your tailbone was cut.

It turned into a dirty blond bob. 

You lost your baby teeth. Mostly you tore them out for cash. *See be brave. Be strong.

Slowly, you developed into an adolescent. You wanted freedom and your room changed from sweet pink and mint green into a “big girl” room. 

Then you were a teenager… starting high school. We walked together. Made mistakes together. Lost our cool…together. Figure it out…together.

Slowly…surely…you needed me less. You were sprouting wings. It pained me. It made me proud. 

You’re beautiful. Inside. Out. 

I treasured our nights laughing and talking about life, relationships…your crazy antics at school. 

I admire your tenacity. I respect your outspoken personality.

I secretly wish I’d been more like you instead of like me.

Time hasn’t been slow. It’s been a blink. You fit on a couch cushion once.

Now you have to find your fit in the world. It’ll feel small at first. But do not despise the day of small beginnings, my love. 

Small starts, if respected, result in big finishes. 

I want that for you. A big finish. I want to stand in glory beside you one day and watch as Jesus fills your crown with jewel after jewel. More than I could ever have received. I want you to have fulfilled all your purpose. I want you to know that you can achieve your dreams, hand in hand with God. I hope you see me and know this truth. Bailey's Photo

I want a line so long of people to surprise you in heaven with how much you’ve sowed into their lives.  You’ve sowed into mine. 

You, darling, are my treasure. But I can’t keep you in a treasure chest for myself. I have to give you to the world and trust that I’ve done good enough but whether I have or not, you’ll make choices that will disappoint me. You’ll have to learn so many things the hard way and I won’t be able to make them all go away.

You’re leaving here. This will never be your house again, not like it was once before.

Your room will feel so empty without your larger than life presence. I’ll miss your voice calling our names. I’ll ache for late nights in your bed when we watch TV and giggle.

But you’re always in my heart. Always in my prayers. A phone call away. Not a terribly far drive.

Go and fly, darling girl. Go and be all that God wants for you. All I want for you.  Never forget who you are, to Whom you belong.

I want you to soar. To be happy. To be content. 

I want you to study hard. Remember it’s a calling. 

I want you to fall in love with a man like your daddy–who will love you and treasure you. He’ll cherish and honor you. And spoil you like a rotten brat! A man who loves Jesus and imitates Him and His love for you.

 I love you. I support you. 

I’m your biggest fan.

I always have been (and Daddy too). We always will be.

 I’m going to cry a lot without you here. But I have strong shoulders to cry on. Remember, you do too. 

With all my love,

Mama.

 

 

 

 

 

Dynamite Dialogue

 

What makes dialogue good? What kind of lines do you remember–quote often?

Before you can make dialogue good and believable, you have to know your characters. What makes them tick? Do they have a phrase they say often? Are they serious? Sarcastic–if so what kind of sarcasm do they use? Humorous, mocking, snide? Are they whimsical? Aloof? Are they witty, shy, dry?

Once you know who your characters are, how they think, what drives them, motivates them, moves them, then you’re ready to make them talk!

Dialogue comes naturally for some, while for others it’s difficult. I’m one of those writers. It just flows smoothly, I don’t have to think about what my characters are going to say. They tell me. Loudly. But then, I have to think about the senses around me. I have to work at that.

Dialogue doesn’t always need a tag.
If your characters are bantering, you don’t have to put in a “she said, he said” every time. It will flow smoother, deliver the tone you’re going for and engage the reader. Here’s an example of bogged down dialogue tags:

Win a Kindle Fire and a Signed Copy of Final Verdict!

BUY NOW

Hey everyone! Welcome to my new website. I’m so in love with it and can’t thank Jason Walker at Website Ministries enough for his amazing design, patience, and nailing my vision. I highly recommend him if you’re in the market for a new website or even an upgrade.

Also, today not only marks my new online home, which I hope you’ll peruse, especially my BOOK CLUBS page which is full of bonus features and extras for all the books that have released, but today is RELEASE DAY for Final Verdict! And to celebrate…

I’m giving away a Kindle Fire and a signed paperback copy of Final Verdict to one winner. U.S. Only. 18+  This is no April Fool’s joke! The contest is open for the entire month of April! I’ll draw a winner and email them/announce it here May 1st!

You could win a kindle fire, a signed copy of Final Verdict and this bracelet (there’s a bracelet in the book and it’s important!)
 
Here is a closer look at the bracelet! The Love centerpiece fits easily into the bracelet. It’s a magnet and Beckett’s famous line to Aurora: “You and me. We’re magnets from here on out.” I love the symbolism and a big thanks to Gayle Adams, a Magnabilities Consultant and friend who donated this precious piece.
 
 

Final Verdict is about a sheriff and a defense attorney. Talk about opposites attracting. Tell me, if you had to choose to be a prosecuter or a defense attorney, which one would you choose and why? 

 

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Win a copy of Final Verdict & Unleashing Love Releases TODAY!

Guess what? I’m giving away 5 signed paperbacks of Final Verdict! All you have to do is enter the giveaway on Goodreads for a chance to win 1! 

Woohoo!

In Other news, my novella Unleashing Love releases TODAY in the Love at First Laugh Collection! It’s only .99 for all 8 novellas! That’s a deal. Grab it up!

Have a great week, ya’ll! 

Join the Patch Pack!

***Update 2/21/2017 Thanks, everyone, the spots have now been filled. There was an overwhelming response (to which I’m grateful) and not everyone could squeeze in. However, know that the Patch Pack will open up again in the near future. Those who filled a slot have been notified personally by email and added to the private facebook group. Thanks again for your support!***


Hey ya’ll!

Guess what? My 4th Love Inspired Suspense novel, Final Verdict, is releasing in April and there are a few limited spaces in the Patch Pack for those of you who might be interested in joining up to help me spread the word!

By joining the Patch Pack, you’ll receive a FREE advanced digital copy of Final Verdict. Here’s  a peek at the book:

FATAL JUSTICE 
When Aurora Daniels becomes the target of someone seeking their own twisted justice, Sheriff Beckett Marsh is the only one who can rescue her. As a public defender, Aurora has angered plenty of people in town—and in her past. And while Beckett constantly clashes with the feisty lawyer professionally, it’s his duty to protect and serve. Guarding her 24/7 is now his sole assignment. He may not have been able to save his fiancée from a dangerous felon, but he’ll do whatever it takes to keep Aurora alive. Even if working with her to catch and convict this ruthless killer puts his heart in the crosshairs.

Sound like a book you’d like to read? Great! Let me share a few other perks of being in the Patch Pack. You’ll be added to a “secret” group on  Facebook. We have a lot of fun over there as we chat about books, life, and sometimes Patch Packers help me brainstorm ideas and help out with character names and the like…also…with each book they commit to promote, they’re entered into an exclusive giveaway full of fun prizes. This last book I gave away a kindle fire, signed paper back, cool coffee mug and coaster to boot!

 Basically, the Patch Pack team helps me spread the word about the book through their circle of influence such as social media sites, church friends and family, word of mouth, and of course, honest reviews!

Space is limited, so if you feel like this might be something you are interested in, please fill out the Google form: PATCH PACK GOOGLE FORM

Thanks again for considering teaming up with me!

Kiss or Miss? Featuring Melanie Snitker!

Thanks for playing. The contest is now closed and the winner has been notified. For those of you who guessed if Melanie’s excerpt below was a “kiss or miss” it was a MISS! I’m going to call it a miss!
 Parker really wants to kiss her and brushes a whisper of a kiss on her cheek, but he walks away when he wants to give her a true kiss. Instead, he lets her have the space she wanted – or at least she thinks she wants!

Welcome to the “Kiss or Miss” Scavenger Hunt.
I am so glad you’ve stopped by today to play along. Today is stop #6, but you can journey through all eight stops, following the order in the schedule. Each stop will include two or three clue words in red. Collect them all and enter to win our grand prize at the final stop on February 17th on Crystal’s site.

Along each stop, you’ll get to meet an awesome author friend, read a super fun excerpt from one of their favorite kiss-or-miss scenes, and enter some sweet giveaways.

Here Are the Deets:
Scavenger Hunt Schedule: February 13th through the 17th.

Once you have all the words, arrange them in order to complete the mystery quote and enter it at the final stop of the event on Crystal’s site, 2/17.

Grand Prize: A paperback from each participating author, as shown in the image below.

Ready to Dive in? Follow the blog hop order below:

Stop 1 – 2/13/17: Crystal’s blog, featuring Pepper Basham
Stop 2 – 2/13/17: Pepper’s blog, featuring Stacy Claflin
Stop 3 – 2/14/17: Stacy’s blog, featuring Juliette Duncan
Stop 4 – 2/14/17: Juliette’s blog, featuring Sarah Monzon
Stop 5 – 2/15/17: Sarah’s blog, featuring Jessica Patch
Stop 6 – 2/15/17: Jessica’s blog, featuring Melanie Snitker
Stop 7 – 2/16/17: Melanie’s blog, featuring Melissa Tagg
Stop 8 – 2/16/17: Melissa’s blog, featuring Crystal Walton
Stop 9 – 2/17/17: Crystal’s blog, final entry

Stop #6 Featuring Melanie Snitker Thanks so much, Melanie, for being here today. I’m stoked for everyone to read your Kiss or Miss scene!

Thank
you so much, Jessica, for hosting me on your blog today! I’m looking forward to
sharing more about my new release, Finding Joy.
Sometimes, what looks like a dead end, is
really a new beginning.
A horrific
accident changed everything for Parker Wilson. The beautiful new employee his
mom hires is the last thing he needs and he’ll do whatever it takes to make the
girl quit. All he wants is to regain the peace and quiet he prefers.
Chelsea Blake
had been under the influence of her parents for ages,
but nothing short of desperation would force her to work on a local cattle
ranch. She may not be cut out for ranch life, but her determination to succeed
is stronger than her handsome employer’s efforts at forcing her to leave.
Unprepared to
discover all they have in common, if they set aside their initial dislike, they
might find joy beyond measure.
 Finding Joy is available for $0.99 through February 19th.
Click here to snag your
copy!
For your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Peace, the first
book in this series, read the excerpt below. Then vote below to enter your choice of “kiss” or “miss” in the Rafflecopter form.
A winner
will be chosen randomly on February 18th, 2017.
Excerpt from Finding Joy:
Chelsea
nodded slowly. “That makes sense. It hurts when people don’t see us for who we
really are.”
There
was no doubting the sadness in her eyes. “Are things still not going well with
your parents?”
She
gave a half shrug. “I don’t know why it always surprises me. You’d think I’d be
used to it by now. You were right, though. My parents never knew me.” She took
a long drink. “I’ve always been their daughter and Laurie’s sister. Never
Chelsea. I’m not even sure I know who I really am.” 
“Well,
I do.” Parker reached across the table and cradled her hand in his. Not even
the hot drink had warmed her skin after being outside. He covered it with his
other hand. “You, Chelsea Blake, are a beautiful, intelligent woman. You never
give up, no matter how many obstacles get in your way. You were willing to fly
in the face of what your parents expected of you in order to find your own
direction in this world.” She was blushing furiously now, but he wasn’t done.
“And you were able to single-handedly drag a grumpy man out of his misery with
a broken bottle of tea and your stubbornness.”
Chelsea
laughed then and covered her face with her hands. Her eyes brimmed with tears
as she shook her head. “You’re something else.”
“Oh?
A good something, or a bad something?” He hiked one eyebrow at her.
“Good.”
She peeked at him from beneath her lashes.
Someone
else came into the coffee shop, bringing with him a blast of cool air. As much
as Parker didn’t want his time with Chelsea to end, he kept in mind the area of
town she lived in. It was nearly dark, and he’d rather she got home sooner than
later.
Chelsea
sighed and reached for her coat, apparently realizing the same thing.
Parker
escorted her to her car and held the door open. Chelsea started the engine and
cranked the heat up all the way. Instead of retreating, he waited, one hand on
the roof of the car and the other on top of the door.
She
turned toward him, lifting her chin. “Thanks for the hot chocolate.”
“You’re
welcome.” He leaned down, his face inches from hers. “Chelsea?”
“Yeah?”
So, what do you
think? Do they kiss? Or is it a miss?
Vote below to enter for
your chance to win a digital copy of Finding Peace.
About the Author:
Melanie D. Snitker has enjoyed writing for as long as she can
remember. She started out creating episodes of cartoon shows that she wanted to
see as a child and her love of writing grew from there. She and her husband
live in Texas with their two children who keep their lives full of adventure,
and two dogs who add a dash of mischief to the family dynamics.
In her spare time, Melanie enjoys photography, reading, crochet, baking,
archery, target shooting, learning about essential oils, and hanging out with
family and friends.
Follow Melanie:

Ready for Stop #7?
Did you collect your clue words in red above? Jot them down and hop over to Melanie’s blog for the next set of clues, goodies, and more.

Great read, Melanie! Okay, everyone don’t forget to go to all the blogs to find the words and enter for a chance to win! Yay! 

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Win 1 of 2 Prize Packages!

Drum roll…

Through the month of January, my good friend, Jodie Bailey, and I have teamed up to give away TWO super cool prize packages which includes a signed copy of each of our January releases: Dead Run by Jodie and Concealed Identity by moi! (Must be 18 or older. U.S. only.)

Using Rafflecopter, we’ll draw two winners on Tuesday, January 31st and announce them on Wednesday, February 1st! 

Check out the prize packages:

Jodie’s Prize Package

Wake up to THE good book with a journal for notes, a cup of pumpkin spice coffee in a sweet Fort Brag mug, and a two good books! And hey, don’t forget sweet treats, more coffee (or tea) from Starbucks ($10)!  


Jess’s Prize Package


On a cold night, stop by Starbucks ($10) for your favorite hot drink (or sweet treat), come home and curl up in some warm fuzzy socks (emoji heart eyes because, hellooo, you’re reading romance!), pop some popcorn, and enjoy signed copies of Dead Run and Concealed Identity… and don’t forget before bed, a little moment with God, some Burts Bees to soften those lips (xoxoxo) and a journal to keep notes!
Ya’ll just don’t know how cool it is to have a book releasing with Jodie! We met during a pre-published excerpt competition and have been fast friends since. 

Tell me, have you made a life long friend through a chance encounter? Share the deets in the comments!


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And I Quote… Plus Win a Copy of Concealed Identity!

Buy the Book
Ya’ll another book baby has been born. Concealed Identity released in Kindle on January 1 and in paperback on January 3. It’s surreal. Like for real. 

Here are just a few quotes from the book. Feel free to check out my Pinterest board to see who I cast as the characters and get a picture of the fictional small town of Hope, Tennessee. 

Holt McKnight is definitely one of my favorite characters! I hope you’ll think so too!

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book!

And here is a meme one of my readers created on her own! 
Stay tuned…Friday I’m teaming up with my author pal, Jodie Bailey and we’re giving away some super sweet prizes! I’d love for you to swing by and enter for a chance to win. Let’s say there are gift cards, fuzzy slippers, books, Burts Bees, and much more to drool over! 
Do you have a favorite quote or a line from a song? I’d love for you to share it. 

Comment below (and add your email address) and I’ll draw a random winner for one signed paperback copy of Concealed Identity! U.S. Only on Friday, January 6th at NOON CST.